The theme of the day, and certainly much of the Steve Sarkisian era in University of Washington football has been forgetting the past – both record-wise, and some of the troubling transgressions of the players.
Sarkisian calls it a "clean slate," and talked more in depth about it after the team's second fall-camp practice Tuesday at Husky Stadium.
"We have to remind ourselves … they're 18-, 19-, 20-year old guys. Everybody can make a mistake here and there. They're still finding their way. Sometimes you feel, 'Man, I made so many wrong decisions, or things aren't going my way that it's doom and gloom.' When you sometimes have a ray of hope and an opportunity there, it can motivate you," Sarkisian said.
"I think with our team right now, we have quite a few guys that have been motivated to the point of, 'Man I've got an opportunity and I want to make the most of it.'"
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And the new coach was talking about both what transpired on the field, and off of it.
We have a lot of guys who maybe put some things on film last year, especially in the second half, they'd be the first to tell you they're not proud of the effort they played with," Sarkisian said. "We wiped the slate clean with that, and we're going to give them every opportunity to show who they are on this field every day. Obviously there have been some guys with off-the-field things they had to work through. They've been great."
Mentioned specifically were linebacker E.J. Savannah, tight end Chris Izbicki, offensive guard Ben Ossai and running back Chris Polk as players who needed – and wholeheartedly deserved – second chances.
"It's like a whole new life, a whole new opportunity in my football career," Izbicki said. "There is no prejudice against anything. (Sarkisian) never talks about the past, never mentions anything. He's definitely true to his word."
Tuesday practice notes:
&bull A day after the offense claimed victory in the fall-opening scrimmage, usually held in the final half-hour of practice, the defense rallied to win the last three possessions, including a pass knockdown by cornerback Justin Glenn to preserve the triumph. Glenn knocked the ball out of receiver Jermaine Kearse's hands.
That final session was physical and intense – which likely will be ever more so after the team is allowed to put on shoulder pads starting Wednesday.
"Feels like we've been hitting the last two days out here. That is how practices are without pads," Savannah said. "And we're going to get more physical with pads. That is when some people get exposed."
&bull The NCAA's Eligibility Clearinghouse struck again Tuesday, this time ruling that junior-college transfer Dominique Gaisie was ineligible because of two course transfers. Sarkisian is unsure when that will get resolved, but he was on the sideline Tuesday.
On Monday, Wilson High's Desmond Trufant was not practicing because a class he took was ruled invalid. When asked what class it was, the cornerback said it was a "sign language" class. He is replacing it with a general core class.
&bull Coaches and players, beware of injury. Besides true freshman Talia Crichton (groin) being sidelined Tuesday, offensive line coach Dan Cozzetto was seen limping off the field afterward. He had been "leg-whipped" during a drill by one of the players. Also, receiver Devin Aguilar, who suffered an ankle injury early Monday but still practiced, was limited Tuesday.
&bull And so-so effort, especially in pace of movement, will not be tolerated for any UW team member – not even the ballboys. When a boy was slow in retrieving footballs after field-goal attempts early in practice Tuesday, special teams coordinator Johnny Nansen made sure to give the kid an earful – nicely, of course.
&bull What do coaches call the early part of fall and spring camps, without pads? "As we call it in the football world, we're in underwear right now," Sarkisian said.
&bull Sarkisian said in addition to the originally-scheduled Aug. 18 scrimmage, another one will be held at a later date during fall camp.
&bull For anybody who cares, the facade on the north end of Husky Stadium – the one that had an illustration of former coach Tyrone Willingham – has been taken down.